Republicans are scurrying to solidify their agenda as they launch headlong into this early year. With tax cuts putting wind in their sails, they are eager for more victories, but their schizophrenic wish list not only puts the party at odds with itself, a massive spending push could undo all the goodwill created by the tax pass.
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The House and Senate have vastly different demands: pragmatic Paul Ryan wants to pretend he cares about the debt and deficit, and he's gum-flapping about the all-too-necessary entitlement cuts needed to keep the economy afloat. Mitch McConnell is offering scotch tape to his lepers by pushing for a trillion-dollar infrastructure package.
Bridges are great, but when you can't pay for them, you end up sleeping under them. Even with a rosy revenue outlook, there won't be enough new nickels trickling in to pay for all the new roads that lead to fiscal hell.
I understand the allure of infrastructure spending.
It's like taking Nancy Pelosi to an all-you-can-drink chardonnay trough. Democrats just can't say no to a blank check, and their addiction to spending your monopoly money overrides their desire to resist the president. But Democrats see this as a fiscal bath house where they get to massage their union and corporate cronies creating all new monopolies that mean campaign contributions and job security, deficit be damned.
So what will both parties do when they run like cowards from real spending cuts to cruelly inefficient programs like Medicare, but embrace infrastructure spending like a bunch of bougie boobs who just won the lottery?
Same thing they always do: kick the can ‘til the next deadline, raise the debt ceiling, and cause more long-term economic harm by borrowing money we don't have and can never pay back.